Skoshbox: Japanese Snacks Subscription Box (June 2016)

As you can tell, life’s been a bit busy around these parts – I haven’t had a chance to post anything in a while. I’ve been doing a bunch of traveling for the new gig, which tends to throw off the whole “everyday life” schedule a little bit.

But life does go on, and with it (currently) goes on the Boy’s Skoshbox subscription, which we are still thoroughly enjoying. I figured I’d give you a peek at another box, this time from June 2016.

Skoshbox Snack List

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Playing Lighthouse Keeper: A Night at East Brother

For someone who is wholly stressed out by planning surprises, it seems I do plan quite a lot of them – case in point: This year, I decided to do a “surprise” trip for the Boy’s birthday. Hey, if there’s one thing that makes the stress of a surprise worth it, it’s doing it for someone you love. Now, I say “surprise” because the Boy knew we were going somewhere – I had to get his frequent flyer number, after all – and he know it was somewhere not far away. Eventually, he figured out it was the Bay Area, but not until we got within sight of the East Brother Light Station did he realize that the true surprise was our hotel – which was, in fact, a Victorian-lighthouse-slash-B-&-B located in between the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays.

Lighthouse Panorama

Now, we had a great time on the gorgeous little windy island with our wonderful B&B hosts, but I still have a few warnings for you should you choose to undertake this journey yourself – and oh, it is a JOURNEY. Continue reading

Eating Out: Hyperion Public

It’s Restaurant Week in Los Angeles right now (more accurately, Restaurant Fortnight – it’s two weeks long) – and the city’s food lovers are going wild! I’m out-of-town most of this week (side note: I got a new gig) and so we celebrated/bid me farewell with a Restaurant Week night out at Hyperion Public in Studio City over last weekend.

Hyperion Public is a pub-style place with an appropriate accompanying menu, and their Restaurant Week offering gave us an appetizer, entrée, and drink for $29. Not bad, right? (Also, we did the math, and no matter what we ordered we would each save at least $5 and often closer to $10 ). It’s a warm space with a little patio, casual but classy.

We started with “The Pretzel,” served with Dijon mustard and “OMG Dip.” Buttery and soft, I thoroughly enjoyed this, and the “OMG Dip” was tangy and cheesy and generally excellent. For the other app, we ordered the croquettes (duh), crispy balls of potato and cheese served with spicy tomato sauce. The croquettes were YUM-my, though I wish the sauce had been served on the side as it quickly started to sog up the crispy outsides.

The Pretzel

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Eating In: Cheesy Cornmeal Pancakes & A “Crumble”

Sometimes, on a weekend (and I’m sure you all can relate), I am inspired to make fancy breakfast. Some might even call it brunch.  However, rarely am I moved to plan ahead for these occasions and even more rarely do I want to do any actual grocery shopping when the mood for fancy breakfast/brunch arises. So, I make do with what we have, which on one particular morning led me here – to Cheesy Cornmeal Pancakes inspired by a recipe from the blog Shutterbean by Tracy Benjamin, and a very improvised thing we’re calling a Balsamic Fruit “Crumble.”

Cornmeal Pancakes and Fruit "Crumble"

This is an adaptation of Tracy’s pancakes, as I did not have many of the things that were supposed to go in the originals, called Cheddar Chive Cornmeal Pancakes. Most importantly, I did not have cheddar or chives. So Cheesy Cornmeal Pancakes it was, made with the Mexican cheese blend that happened to be sitting in my fridge. I know a recipe is good when I can improvise with it, as cooking improvisation is generally not where my skills lie. Continue reading

Eating Out: The Cannibal

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’re well aware that I love food. You’re probably also aware that if I had unlimited time, money, and stomach space, I would be systematically eating my way through Los Angeles’s dining scene. I don’t have any of those things, but it doesn’t mean I don’t still try my damndest to do so. So, on a day when we needed lunch and there was nothing in the house, it didn’t take too much convincing to get the Boy and me over to Culver City’s up-and-coming hot spot The Cannibal.

The Cannibal

The Cannibal, which originates from a location in New York City, is a self-described “butcher’s restaurant” where the focus is on the meat. The full restaurant, at least for now, is only open for dinner, but there is a butcher shop/sort of deli counter where you can get a curated selection of sandwiches, salads, and the like. That’s what we tried (so I can’t speak to the restaurant – yet. I did ogle some awesome-looking charcuterie boards being assembled, though). Continue reading

(Almost) No Recipe Required: Berry Cheesecake Tart

Happy 4th of July! It wouldn’t be the Fourth without some kind of gratuitous red, white, and blue recipe, now would it? Of course not. Best of all, the particular patriotic recipe I’m about to show you is so simple it totally fills all the “oops, I was supposed to bring something to that cookout this afternoon” requirements. Which are really the only requirements that matter if you’re still looking up recipes today.

Berry Cheesecake Tart

I call this “Almost” No Recipe Required, because of course this dessert is quite closely based off of a recipe by the fantastic Laura of Fork Knife Swoon, with a few modifications to (1) save even more time and (2) because sometimes I charge full speed ahead and forget ingredients. BUT it is so wonderfully simple that after you’ve made it once, I think you could probably go without the recipe in a pinch (and, as Laura notes, it’s easily altered for whatever fruits you have on hand, throwing the recipe even further to the winds). Continue reading

Skoshbox: Japanese Snacks Subscription Box (May 2016)

I am a big fan of the subscription box for gift-giving. For one, if you have a tendency to be late to the game like me, it doesn’t require a lot of foresight as you can literally subscribe someone the day of their birthday/anniversary/other gift-giving holiday. For another thing, I love getting getting subscriptions, since it is literally the gift that keeps on giving.

So, for our anniversary this year, I gifted the Boy a Skoshbox, a subscription box of weird Japanese snacks that arrives once a month. We’re two months in, and it’s quite fun, so I thought I’d walk you through the first box we got (the May 2016 edition).

Skoshbox

The box comes all neatly and adorably packaged, with a little guide to all the contents. I gifted the regular Skoshbox for six months at $66, or $11/month. There are also more “deluxe” versions. We got five different items in our first box.

The first thing we tried was the Umaibo: Takoyaki, or “Takoyaki (Savory Octopus Ball) Puffed Corn Stick.” It was pretty much what it sounds like, but much tastier than you might expect – a sort of giant crunchy Pirate’s Booty (better textured than that) with a big hit of sea-ish umami flavor. I would totally eat this again.

“Sort of like a saucy Dorito. Like curry maybe.” – The Boy
“A very savory giant Cheeto, but without the cheese flavor. Like fish-sauce-flavored or something.?” – Me

Next up were the Peko x Sanrio Ichigo Choco, or “Character Shaped Strawberry Chocolates.” While VERY cute, I found these a bit overly artificial in flavor, and wasn’t that interested in them once I’d had one.

“They’re nice, but they’re too small and they lack crunch.” – The Boy
“Tastes like a chocolate strawberry but without the tartness.” – Me 

We were most intrigued by Lifeguard Drink Candy (because, what?!), described as “Vitamin Energy Drink in Candy Form.” Now, I can’t really speak to whether this had any energy-giving properties, but it was weird and I did not care for it. You squeezed it out of little ketchup-like packets and it was, to quote the Boy, not good.

“It was not good. The texture was like glue.” – The Boy
“It tastes like a melted gummy bear. I don’t like it.” – Me

My favorite thing in the pack was the Fettuccine Gummy, or “Flat Noodle Orange Gummies,” which I expected to like because they looked like sour candy, and I was not disappointed. The Boy, however, is citrus-averse and hence was less enthralled.

“I wish it was less orange.”  – The Boy
“I am all about these.”  – Me

Finally, we came to Gudetama Gum, described as “Soda Gum with Mystery Gudetama Sticker.” I did not know what soda gum was, and I still don’t – this was essentially weak gum. At least we got a sticker?

“I don’t like gum. I certainly don’t like non-mint gum. Plus it lost all its taste.” – The Boy “Unremarkable.” – Me

Though we may not have liked everything, we certainly had fun trying it all! If you’re interested, I’ll let you know what goodies we got in June…

I was not compensated for this post. All the opinions are my own.

Eating In: Eggplant “Caprese” Salad

My abject love for Erin Gleeson’s cookbook The Forest Feast has been well documented (and now there is a Forest Feast for Kids, and  I have no kids buuuuuutttt…), and it proved its prime position amongst my cookbooks once again with another CSA-veggie-highlighting, speedy, delicious dinner.

Eggplant Caprese Salad

The dish is entitled “Eggplant Salad”, but I almost would call it an Eggplant Caprese, since it combines the glorious ingredients of mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Oh, and crispy garlic. mustn’t forget the crispy garlic. Continue reading

Out & About: The L.A. Bread Festival

Last Friday, I received some sort of mailing about the Los Angeles Bread Festival, happening that very weekend (as in, the next day and day after). Despite the short notice, I quickly got the Boy on board, as he’s been baking bread periodically (yes, I am a very lucky girl). He signed up for a slot at the communal wood-burning bread oven and on Sunday, off we went to Grand Central Market in DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles, for the non-locals).

Bread for Sale

The bread festival had many other classes and aspects to it (something about butter-churning aerobics WHAT), which we were unable to attend due to the short notice, but we did manage to partake of many delicious samples from the bread vendors lined up around the side of the Market. There were also bread-centric specials from many of the permanent market vendors, which I am totally on board with (all bread is good bread). Continue reading

At Home: IKEA Rast Nightstand Makeover

Hey! Finally a post about the house. When it comes to house stuff (the Boy can verify this tenfold), I am constantly paralyzed by choice and nothing is finished and nothing can be decided until this, that, and the other have been decided and so on. Totally normal in many ways, I know, but also totally silly.

ANYWAY…since we put on our new addition (a bed and two baths, there’s a long drawn-out story about the city and a need to reverse a 60-year-old garage conversion I won’t get into here), we have been desperately in need of new nightstands, as ours were the wrong size and bedraggled from too many moves and completely the wrong color for our fantastic new dark teal walls. After my usual endless hemming and hawing and comparison shopping, we ended up doing them DIY-style, using the ever-popular IKEA Rast dresser as a base.

Not bad, am I right? And a pretty good deal, all told. To execute said makeover, we used the following: Continue reading